Experts Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions About Melatonin

Apr 19, 2021 MelatoninSleep Tips 6 MIN

melatonin facts

If you occasionally have a hard time falling asleep—or staying asleep—you may be thinking about taking melatonin, a 100% drug-free sleep aid. We all know that you should always try your best to practice good sleep habits, but what if you’ve tried it all and nothing seems to work? You might consider a melatonin supplement. Unlike traditional “sleeping pills,” melatonin can usually be found in the dietary supplements aisle at U.S. stores. But you may have a lot of questions about melatonin, its safety, who can take it, and how much is safe to take. Our expert is here to set the facts straight and answer all your frequently asked questions about melatonin.

Can you take melatonin every night?

For most individuals, melatonin is safe to take occasionally for 2-3 months. If your sleep issues are ongoing, we recommend talking to your healthcare practitioner. 

Learn More: Is Melatonin Safe & Can You Take It Every Night?

How much melatonin should I take?

The safe and efficacious amount of melatonin that can be taken ranges in doses of 0.3 mg –10 mg per day, but it really depends on your age and specific sleep issue. Typically, it’s best to start with a low dose and increase it (as needed) to find what works best for you.

Learn More: What is the Proper Melatonin Dosage for Adults?

Can kids take melatonin?

Research shows that short term use of melatonin at low doses may be effective and well tolerated for children, but it is best to speak to your child’s pediatrician first before giving your child melatonin. 

Learn More: What is the Proper Melatonin Dosage for Kids?

Does melatonin help you sleep?

Melatonin plays a key role in regulating the body’s sleep/wake cycle, with the brain producing more as it gets dark (at night) and less as it gets light (in the morning). While melatonin doesn’t make you go to sleep, it signals the body that it’s time to sleep, helping you relax and transition to slumber.

Does melatonin cause weight gain or help with weight loss?

Melatonin should not directly affect your weight. However, if you are sleeping better, you may have more energy to exercise the next day, which can help contribute to weight control. Emerging research studies also show relationships between short sleep duration and higher total energy intake and lower quality diet, highlighting the importance of sleep and body weight regulation.

Is melatonin good for anxiety?

While sleep is important for mood regulation, we do not recommend use of melatonin for treatment of anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety, we recommend speaking to your healthcare provider.

Does melatonin make it hard to wake up?

Melatonin needs vary and we recommend starting with a low dose to find the right dose for you. If you find it hard to wake up after the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, we recommend using a lower dose.

How long does melatonin last?

While rates of melatonin metabolism can vary in different people, our melatonin products are designed to support the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep.  

What happens if you take melatonin and stay awake?

Although taking Melatonin can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, you may still find that you have difficulty sleeping. Practicing healthy sleep habits, such as not drinking alcohol or caffeine close to bedtime, keeping your bedroom cool and quiet, having a consistent sleep schedule, not exposing yourself to blue light (such as what is given off from your computer, mobile phone or other device) and adding stress management techniques such as yoga or deep breathing may also help. In addition if you find yourself unable to sleep for over 20 minutes while in bed, try getting out of bed for a short time and do something relaxing, in low light, to get your mind off of sleep before going back to bed.  If your sleep issues continue, we recommend speaking with your healthcare practitioner. 

Learn More: Tips for How to Get Better Sleep

Can I have a glass of wine with melatonin?

It is fine to consume a glass of wine prior to taking Melatonin, however, keep in mind that alcohol consumption can negatively affect your sleep quality and quantity.

Is melatonin bad for your kidneys or liver?

Melatonin use is not expected to negatively impact the kidneys or liver in healthy individuals. If you have medical concerns, we recommend speaking to your healthcare provider. 

Does melatonin affect bowel movements?

Melatonin should not affect your bowel movements 

What foods have melatonin?

Melatonin is present in very small amounts in tart cherries, tomatoes, nuts, rice, germinated legumes, milk, eggs, and fatty fish.

Learn More: Foods with Melatonin to Help You Sleep 

Can I buy melatonin over the counter?

Melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement, it is 100% drug free and you do not need a prescription to purchase melatonin.

How do I quit taking melatonin?

Melatonin is 100% drug free and non-addictive. If you want to stop taking melatonin simply discontinue use. 

Why does melatonin not work for me?

If you have tried melatonin and it does not work for you, you might want to consider taking a higher dose (note: doses can range from 0.3 mg - 10 mg per night) or an extended release melatonin supplement. Make sure you are practicing healthy sleep habits, such as not drinking alcohol or caffeine (coffee, teas, sodas, etc.) close to bedtime, keeping your bedroom cool and quiet, not exposing yourself to blue light from your electronics (computer, mobile phone, television or other device) and stress management techniques such as yoga or deep breathing. If your sleep issues continue, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider.

Learn More: Why Can't I Sleep At Night?

Can melatonin cause nightmares?

Dreams occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. When you’re sleep deprived and are getting less than optimal periods of REM sleep, you’ll experience a longer-than-usual period of REM sleep when allowed to get sufficient sleep – a phenomenon known as REM rebound. Longer periods of REM sleep following sleep deprivation can result in vivid dreams and are totally normal.

Learn More: Melatonin & Dreams

Is it safe to take melatonin while pregnant?

Due to a lack of research on melatonin’s effects during pregnancy, it’s not recommended to take melatonin supplements while pregnant without first speaking to your healthcare provider. 

Learn More: Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant?

Can melatonin be used for anything besides sleep?

Ongoing research is exploring the health benefits of melatonin outside of sleep, but cannot be recommended at this time.

Does melatonin weaken your immune system?

Melatonin should not weaken your immune system. On the contrary, good quality sleep is important for a healthy immune system and melatonin can help you get the sleep you need. One study has shown that insufficient sleep in the week before a flu shot can lead to reduced production of antibody response, highlighting the importance of sleep for a healthy immune system.

Is melatonin bad for autoimmune disorders like lupus?

If you have a medical condition, we recommend that you speak to your healthcare practitioner before starting a new dietary supplement, including melatonin.

Does melatonin cause hair loss?

Melatonin is not known to cause hair loss.

Does melatonin make you wake up in the middle of the night?

Taking Melatonin will  not directly cause you to wake you up in the middle of the night. However, if you are waking up in the middle of the night, in addition to practicing good sleep hygiene, you might want to try a time-released melatonin, such as Nature Made Extended Release Melatonin

Is melatonin safer than other sleep aid options or sleeping pills?

Melatonin is naturally produced in your body at night. Melatonin supplements are 100% drug-free and have a strong safety profile with few side effects. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about the best sleep aid for you.

Does melatonin have any side effects?

Mild side effects may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vivid dreams, and lack of appetite. Increased heart rate is another reported side effect; if you experience this or other persistent side effects, discontinue use and consult with your healthcare provider.

Learn More About Sleep & Stress:

This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information if you think taking a melatonin supplement might be a good option for you.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Melissa Dorval Pine, RD

Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications

Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.

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